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10-30-2008, 07:25 AM   #1
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possible AF improvement?

The new k-m has recently hit the market and it said to be the best Pentax camera for what concern AF speed in low-light. However rumors are that this improvement has been possible just thanks to algorithm tweaks.

So why wouldn't it be possible to provide this improvement also for previous models that share the same processor? Is this asking too much and making too many customers happy at the same time?

10-30-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
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Two Simple Reasons

QuoteOriginally posted by soalle Quote
The new k-m has recently hit the market and it said to be the best Pentax camera for what concern AF speed in low-light. However rumors are that this improvement has been possible just thanks to algorithm tweaks.

So why wouldn't it be possible to provide this improvement also for previous models that share the same processor? Is this asking too much and making too many customers happy at the same time?
1. They will not have the resources to rewrite the old firmware;

2. They want you to buy new cameras (for new "improvements").
10-30-2008, 08:03 AM   #3
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so maybe I'm asking too much...
do you think however would be technically possible?
10-30-2008, 08:04 AM   #4
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Not every thing is changeable with firmware. Some low level things maybe software controlled but hard coded. So the only way to change them after the camera is out of the factory is to open the camera and remove a chip. It is usually easer and cheaper to replace the board that the chip it is on. That is probably why some K10D users when they have sent in the camera for repairs get back a camera that has a better focus system. As part of the repair a new board used in the K20D was used.

DAZ

10-30-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by soalle Quote
The new k-m has recently hit the market and it said to be the best Pentax camera for what concern AF speed in low-light. However rumors are that this improvement has been possible just thanks to algorithm tweaks.

So why wouldn't it be possible to provide this improvement also for previous models that share the same processor? Is this asking too much and making too many customers happy at the same time?
QuoteQuote:
The new k-m has recently hit the market and it said to be the best Pentax camera for what concern AF speed in low-light.
I'm curious - where have you read the reports on this? I did a google search and didn't find anything immediately. Has anyone done a k20-k-m comparison yet?
10-30-2008, 09:56 AM   #6
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the worst thing is that other companies e.g. nxxxx, sxxx all provide firmwares to improve the dslr in lots of area e.g. AF speed, functions ...
10-30-2008, 10:24 AM   #7
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It would be beneficial for Pentax as the 'little guy' to provide as much after purchase support as possible for their bodies. If this means firmware development past the cameras 'life' than so be it. As said before other manufacturers provide firmware with improvements well after the fact.

Understandably (as stated above as well) some things cannot be changed with firmware, but the autofocus algorithm could likely be tweaked for more speed, albeit it wouldn't be a two fold increase or anything.
10-30-2008, 01:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
I'm curious - where have you read the reports on this? I did a google search and didn't find anything immediately.
It was one of the point stressed in the press release for the camera. See for instance the paragraph on AF here:

Pentax K-m / K2000 announced and previewed: Digital Photography Review

10-30-2008, 01:48 PM   #9
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Ok, here's the relevant excerpt:
QuoteQuote:
Thanks to a thorough review of the AF algorithm, this AF system also offers improved autofocusing speed under poor-lighting conditions, in which conventional AF systems take longer to focus on the subject.
I'm curious to see some reports on this from anyone who has hands-on experience. The camera just came out in Japan, so I imagine we'll have to wait a bit still, but I'd like to know if we're talking about a minor change or something pretty significant.
10-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by yipchunyu Quote
the worst thing is that other companies e.g. nxxxx, sxxx all provide firmwares to improve the dslr in lots of area e.g. AF speed, functions ...
Examples? Pentax firmware updates are in line with those from other companies. Why would any company give you a magic update (if it was even possible) to make your old model equal to the new model? They want you to buy the latest/greatest. To imply that Pentax is somehow doing less than the other companies is wrong.
10-30-2008, 08:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
Examples? Pentax firmware updates are in line with those from other companies. Why would any company give you a magic update (if it was even possible) to make your old model equal to the new model? They want you to buy the latest/greatest. To imply that Pentax is somehow doing less than the other companies is wrong.
e.g D300 from Nikon

quote from dpreview:
Nikon has today announced a firmware update for the D300, taking it to v1.10. The update improves focus performance in dynamic-area AF mode contrast-detect mode in live view but also looks at a whole range of other issues.

Based on some users' comment, the AF speed improve a lot.

A700 from Sony (the forth firmware update, I guess)


Sony has issued a firmware update for its A700 DSLR. The firmware, widely distributed having been posted on the company's Japanese site, makes a number of changes, including a noise-reduction 'off' setting that may address some of the criticisms originally leveled at the camera. Other modifications include changes to bracketing, white balance and dynamic range optimization. Related updates have also been made to Sony's processing software.

Sony describes the firmware changes as follows:

Improvements and solved issues

* The choice to select auto exposure bracketing (single & continuous) with 3 shots in 2 EV steps has been added.
* The choice to turn [Off] the High ISO NR feature has been added.
* Improvement of the image quality in high ISO setting.
* Improvement of the auto white balance and D-Range Optimizer performance.
* Improvement of reliability for communication between camera body and vertical grip.

Application Software

Sony Image Data Suite (for DSLR-α100/α200/α300/α350/α700)

Image Data Converter SR (v3.0 same as supplied with α900)

* Improves ease of use by unifying pallets and positioning of toll bar buttons
* Increases speed of display rendering
* Adds Peripheral Illumination compensation
* Improves effectiveness of Dynamic Range Optimizer

Image Data Lightbox SR (v2.0)

* Increases speed of display rendering
* Adds settings of color label and display sort by camera which captured image

Remote Camera Control (v2.0 only applies to α700)

* Adds Interval Shooting function (Windows only)
* Adds the choice off 2.0EV, 3 shot EV Bracketing (available in both single and continuous modes)

Both can be downloaded from Sony's European site:

Click here to go to Sony Europe's firmware download page
10-31-2008, 07:55 AM   #12
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I don't know how long you've been with Pentax, but they have definitely released firmware upgrades comparable to the ones listed above. For instance, the *istDS received firmware upgrades to improve NR, to add SDHC support, to implement an auto ISO function, continuous AF, etc. The K10D received upgrades to add SDM support, improved wireless flash support, improved control over selection of focus points, ability to set ISO directly using the OK button + wheel, etc.

So I guess I don't how one can claim Pentax is any different from other companies in general here. Surely none of the other companies always retrofit all new features onto their older cameras. Some new features get added, some don't. Just like Pentax.
10-31-2008, 11:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eigengrau Quote
Ok, here's the relevant excerpt:

I'm curious to see some reports on this from anyone who has hands-on experience. The camera just came out in Japan, so I imagine we'll have to wait a bit still, but I'd like to know if we're talking about a minor change or something pretty significant.
It's a minor change, but I could feel it right away
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